As soon as the writer sits at the desk to working on a manuscript, the phone rings. After chatting on the phone for half an hour, the writer sits and checks for new email. Soon, a game is on the computer screen. Lunchtime approaches. The writer begins watching a movie on television while eating lunch. All writers need to beware of the procrastination demons that rob us of our writing time.
Because many writers work from home, they are constantly bombarded with distractions from their surroundings. Friends of people who work from home often interrupt. They may think that because the writer is working from home, the writer is free to go out or talk at any time. The truth is that the writer is completely free of any time schedule unless the writer makes one.
Creating a work schedule can be the best way to get rid of procrastination. During a scheduled time to work, the writer should do everything possible to limit their focus to the writing work to be done. In the age of social media and cell phones, disconnecting from others can be difficult. If at all practical, the ringer of the phone should be turned off and other interruptions blocked right before the work is to begin.
Writers who work from home should consider telling their work schedule to their friends. By making the friends aware of the block of time set aside for writing, they are less likely to interrupt. Politely ask friends to avoid calling or sending messages to you during that time.
Friends are not the only causes of procrastination. Many writers get sidetracked by television or games, especially if they are stuck in writer’s block. One way to prevent this wasted time is to set up a reward system for yourself. While working, the writer may get the urge to take a break and watch television or do other things that are enjoyable.
Instead of allowing frequent breaks that can be of considerable length, set a writing goal and reward yourself after completing it. For example, the writer may want to watch a movie but is working on a chapter to a book. A possible way to handle this would be to use the movie as a reward for after the first draft of the chapter is completed. Many people find this as a way to motivate themselves to be more productive.
Beware the procrastination demons caused by disliked chores. For any entrepreneur, not every task is fun. Writers need to keep tax records, maintain basic bookkeeping, and complete jobs that may not be to the writer’s liking. Writers often have an easier time writing the first draft than editing the piece. Procrastination of disliked jobs can cause problems. Rewards can be a way to fight procrastination caused by having to do something that the person finds loathsome.
When I procrastinate, I find that jobs I normally disdain, all of a sudden become so much fun. Sweeping anyone?
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